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Team News

Late Fitness Check - GW21

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Another set of tricky fixtures to try and navigate with less than 48 hours between games. Managers average around three changes per match during the festive programme but Messrs Pellegrino, Klopp, Puel and Benitez often opt for one or two more - so tread carefully when selecting from their respective squads.


Remember. No fixtures for Tottenham or West Ham United, but the pair will be back for a doubler in week 22.


Follow the Rotoworld Headlines throughout the holidays for the latest and breaking news.



AFC Bournemouth – vs – Everton

Junior Stanislas [hamstring] was missing for the West Ham game after limping off at Man City and the winger will be absent once again. "I will have to make quite a few late calls on a number of players ahead of this one," revealed Eddie Howe. The list includes Charlie Daniels, Andrew Surman and Harry Arter [calf], although I'd expect the latter to miss out. "Whether they return for this game, the next game or in two games time [I'm unsure]. [But] I don't think any injury is serious." Jermain Defoe [ankle] and Tyrone Mings [back] are still out long term but the remainder of those currently sidelined [Adam Federici and Brad Smith] will be back "pretty soon."


Wayne Rooney has recovered from illness and the Everton skipper is in line to face Bournemouth. Saturday is likely to come too soon for Idrissa Gueye, but he could return for the game against Man United on New Year’s Day. James McCarthy is in contention after building fitness with the U23s, however, after more than two months out his return is likely to be from the bench. Leighton Baines has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury. "He was on the [training] field but has felt his calf again - which is a concern." Yannick Bolasie came through first run out in more than a year at West Brom and the winger is pushing for more minutes on the south coast. Seamus Coleman has been "progressing nicely" on a 'rehab new machine' at Finch Farm although the Toffees boss insists the full-back is "still way off." Ross Barkley [hamstring] is training with the first team on a "regular basis" and should be ready soon. "At some point the medical staff will say he can play."



Chelsea – vs – Stoke City

No fresh injury concerns for Chelsea. David Luiz [knee] and Charly Musonda [groin] have stepped up their rehab and the pair are targeting a return in the FA Cup. Andreas Christensen has trained ahead of the game after missing the win over Brighton due to illness.


Defensive problems beginning to mount for Stoke. "It is quite a big crisis for us to be perfectly honest. We are missing a few," muses Mark Hughes. Bruno Martins Indi [groin] is still 2/3 weeks away while a calf injury sustained on Boxing Day will keep Ryan Shawcross out until mid-January. Erik Pieters [hip] has an outside chance but Kurt Zouma is ineligible under the terms of his loan agreement. Glen Johnson [knee] remains unavailable. “We are in a really difficult position it is fair to say, and we may be forced into calling upon a couple of our younger players, who will have to come in and do a job for us.”



Huddersfield Town – vs – Burnley

No fresh injury concerns for the Terriers who are now unbeaten in three. David Wagner heaps praise on Collin Quaner who is back on track following his injury hampered start to the campaign. "He's the fittest he's been since arriving at the club. He’s full of confidence, a threat offensively and works hard defensively. He’s in very good form." Elias Kachunga, Michael Hefele, Jon Stankovic and Philip Billing are all long-term casualties.


A knee injury is 'likely' to keep Stephen Ward on the sidelines while there is also a doubt regarding the fitness of Chris Wood who is rated as "touch-and-go" for trip to Huddersfield. The Burnley striker suffered a whack to the knee following a clash with Hugo Lloris back in GW19. James Tarkowski serves the final game of his three-match ban and Kevin Long looks set to deputise once more. Tom Heaton is said to be "making good progress" in his recovery from a dislocated shoulder. "He's on course," said Sean Dyche who went onto add that there is no specific timeline on his return. "He's getting stronger." Originally, it was hoped that the goalkeeper could be playing again within 4 months, but that looks unlikely at this stage. Dean Marney and Jon Walters are in contention following their recent recovery from long-term injuries.



Liverpool – vs – Leicester City

Initial reports suggest Jordan Henderson could remain on the sidelines for up-to 6 weeks after tests revealed a grade two hamstring tear, although Klopp is reluctant to give any timeline. “Let’s see how he responds [to treatment].”  Alberto Moreno [ankle] should be back in around a fortnight. "We have around about nine days between Everton and [Man] City and that could be the first [game] for him then." Sturridge has suffered a minor setback and Klopp can’t give a date for his return. "I’m not 100 per cent sure," he said. “Daniel was ill and now [has] a little muscle thing. It’s not a big deal, to be honest, but in this period, all these things keep you away from games." Sadio Mane is expected to start after he was an unused substitute against Swansea. Philippe Coutinho is [potentially] flagged as a rotation risk having played 90 minutes on Tuesday, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another who could drop out.


No new additions to the Leicester treatment room following the disappointing defeat to Watford. "There are some who are perhaps not match fit, like Matty James, but all the players are in a good way." Claude Puel confirms a hamstring injury is likely to keep Danny Simpson out for between 4-5 weeks leaving the Foxes manager with a decision to make. Aleksandar Dragović provided cover at right-back on Boxing Day, but Daniel Amartey is available again after serving a one-match ban. Robert Huth will be looking to build fitness with the under-23s over the next few weeks and a realistic return to the first-team action could be in late January.



Newcastle United – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Isaac Hayden will return to the squad but Florian Lejeune [foot] will miss out again following a kick to the foot in training. Rafa Benitez confirms Aleksandar Mitrovic [back] and Jesus Gamez [ankle surgery] will not be in contention. Karl Darlow is set to return in goal for Newcastle after Rob Elliot was ruled out of tomorrow's game after suffering a thigh injury on Wednesday night.


Chris Hughton can call upon the services of Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown [ineligible] again after he missed the game at Stamford Bridge. Steve Sidwell [back] remains the only absentee in an otherwise full-strength squad for Brighton.



Watford – vs – Swansea City

Isaac Success has a chance of being included having recovered from knee surgery, but the Hornets are still left with a lengthy list of absentees. Troy Deeney is only halfway through his ban while Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah, Younes Kaboul and Tommie Hoban are all long-term. Miguel Britos [foot] is taking much longer than expected and Kiko Femenía is struggling to shake off a hamstring problem. Will Hughes will be a late call, as will Roberto Pereyra, who picked up a first half injury in game week 20.


Carlos Carvalhal says Renato Sanches could flourish under his stewardship. "I think he needs confidence. It is easy to forget that he is still only a kid. I think he needs a role in the team. He will be involved in the dynamic and when he understands what we want, he will be a completely different player.” The newly installed Swansea boss did not provide an update on those players currently sidelined, but based on the estimated timelines from former boss Paul Clement, only Wilfried Bony could feature. He has an “outside chance” meaning Sung-Yeung Ki [calf] and Kyle Bartley [knee] look certain to miss out again.  



Manchester United – vs – Southampton

Anthony Martial and Matteo Darmian have trained ahead of the Southampton game after missing the 2-2 draw with Burnley through injury. No timescale for Marouane Fellaini who has been sidelined since November due to a problematic knee. Mourinho was coy on a potential return for Antonio Valencia [hamstring] and Chris Smalling [groin] although neither is expected to feature. Michael Carrick [recovering from a minor heart procedure] is ruled out.


Regular full-back pairing Cedric Soares [ankle] and Ryan Bertrand [hamstring] are ruled out this weekend, although the latter may return on January 02 having re-joined the group in training. "Maybe Ryan is the closest, I hope against Crystal Palace he'd be ready to play." Injury and suspension rule leading goal scorer Charlie Austin out of this one and the Saints striker may not feature again until February. "Charlie will be probably out for a long period of time," said Pellegrino. "It is a little bit more serious [than we first thought]. But we have to wait and see what the doctors say, in the next few weeks."



Crystal Palace – vs – Manchester City

Yohan Cabaye is a doubt for the match after suffering a knock in the 3-2 defeat by Arsenal. If he is not fit enough, then James McArthur is expected to come into the side. Joel Ward is closing in on a return as he steps up his recovery from a groin injury.


Pep confirms Vincent Kompany suffered a calf strain at Newcastle on Wednesday night. "Not as bad as we thought, it's not a big issue. He will be ready for the next fixtures. We will know exactly tomorrow." John Stones makes a timely return from a serious hamstring strain. "He made his first complete training session [on Thursday]. He's not ready for 90 minutes yet but the next game he will be fit. Huge news for us." Guardiola wouldn’t give any guarantees regarding the availability of David Silva. "We will see in the next days." Fabian Delph was not fit midweek "but he's much better now." The midfielder trained on Thursday - day off Friday - and "we will see" on Saturday.



West Bromwich Albion – vs – Arsenal

Salomon Rondon limped off on Boxing Day with a hamstring issue which means Hal Robson-Kanu could be handed a recall for the shot shy Baggies. West Brom have scored just three times in their last 6 PL encounters and 14 overall [only Swansea have fewer]. The return of Matty Phillips will add some creative spark, but the winger is not ready for 90 minutes just yet. Nacer Chadli is the only other player in the treatment room following a setback on his return earlier this month.


Nacho Monreal suffered an ankle injury during the 3-3 draw against Liverpool and the Arsenal defender won’t be back until after the new year fixtures. Olivier Giroud is slightly worse than originally anticipated and Wenger is hoping the striker can be back on the “10th of January or 15th”. Aaron Ramsey is scheduled to return at the beginning of January, however, the form of Jack Wilshere means the Arsenal boss will not take any risks by rushing the Wales international back. Granit Xhaka slipped late on at Selhurst Park on Thursday, and despite lengthy treatment, the midfielder was replaced just minutes later. Late fitness test.